Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Action Plan Requirements

Emergency Action Plans are required by OSHA to facilitate employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. According to osha.gov, an emergency action plan must include but is not limited to:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan
emergency action plan

Three Stages of Emergency Action Planning

When it comes to setting up an emergency action plan, it’s not enough just to jot down some rough directions. There must be thorough investigation as well as follow up involved in the planning process in order to ensure that the action plan will be effective for your company in case of a true emergency.

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In order to guarantee an effective emergency action plan, consider going through the following three steps:

  • Evaluate

    Take the time to assess your facility, potential hazards, possible safe locations, and best escape routes. Consider if there are any changes you need to make to facilitate efficient emergency action. Measure your facility and operations against OSHA recommendations.

  • Plan

    Sit down and write out a plan. Go step by step through the OSHA required action plan elements. Form a team to review the plan, as well. Make sure it is thorough, well written, and accurate.

  • Inform and Practice

    Once your plan has been created, inform your employees of the new emergency action plan. Be sure to post the action plan in conspicuous locations throughout your facility where it can be easily accessed. Once everyone is aware of the action plan, take the time to run a drill. Assess the effectiveness of the drill. How quickly was everyone evacuated and accounted for? How well did leadership communicate during the process? Consider creating a self-evaluation checklist. Make any needed changes to your emergency action plan, and continue to hold periodic drills to keep emergency action top of mind in your employees.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

There are a few other things to keep in mind when creating your emergency action plan. With these items in place, your emergency action plan will not only be complete, it will also be strong and effective.

  • Establish Designated Leaders

    It’s important to establish emergency action leaders in your organization. Typically, it is recommended to have a designated leader for each emergency meeting point. This person is responsible for facilitating evacuations or other emergency response as well as taking a head count of personnel at his or her safe meeting point.

  • Establish Fire Extinguisher and First Aid Trained Personnel

    Be sure to have multiple fire extinguisher trained employees as well as first aid certified employees. These personnel will not only help facilitate safe escape, they also help to combat the emergency. Only trained personnel may utilize a fire extinguisher or perform first aid. It is essential to know who in your organization has the required training. If you do not have enough trained personnel, look into setting up training for several employees who are up for the task.

  • Know How to Report Emergencies

    Communication is key in an emergency. Be sure to inform your employees of the best manner of emergency communication (intercom system, word of mouth, etc.). Make sure your employees are aware of the emergency action leaders so they can effectively report emergencies and expedite the action process. Additionally, it is imperative that your employees know how and when to report the emergency to the authorities. It is not effective for all employees to call 911 while on their way out the door. Instead, focus on getting everyone to safety, and then encourage the leadership team to take responsibility for contacting the necessary authorities.

Establishing an emergency action plan ensures that you and your employees are prepared for whatever may come your way. Keep your emergency action plan up to date, communicate the plan as well as any updates to all employees, and practice the plan regularly with all personnel. These OSHA standards aren’t meant to just be more check-boxes to fill; they have the power to save lives.

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